One undergraduate at the University of Virginia is getting his cap and gown ready to walk down the lawn at the age of 70. Jerry Reid couldn't be more excited to graduate with his first college degree on Sunday.
Reid may have reached his seventh decade of life this year, but he says he doesn't feel a day over 22. After three years of hard work and truly embracing his experience as a Wahoo to the fullest, he's just days away from accomplishing a lifelong dream.
“It's just amazing. When I put my big toe on grounds in the spring of ’11, I had no idea what a magic carpet ride I was going to be on, but man it's been something,” Reid said.
With a graduation cap in hand – customized by a friend – and a graduation-themed voicemail message that's been playing for weeks, Reid is all smiles thinking about the big day.
“I have finally become the man that I hoped I could be and the University of Virginia gave me that opportunity and I can't say enough about the BIS program,” Reid said.
Reid is already celebrating the success of his capstone presentation.
“I nailed it and I got an A on my capstone, which pushed me to a 3.52 GPA, which is all I could have hoped for. My entire brain can't crank out much more than that,” he said.
Reid is also reflecting on some of the most recent additions to his resume. He’s a member of the Jefferson Society, a brother in the Chi Phi fraternity, and even has two intramural flag football championships under his belt.
“I've had an opportunity to do everything I wanted and more and things I never realized were going to be available to me just kept popping up,” Reid said.
His friend Sarah Arnold, who volunteered to decorate his cap, works at The Virginian, a restaurant on the UVA corner that Reid likes to frequent. She says he's left a legendary mark on the university.
“He lives and breathes coming here. I mean he'll come in and get his gingers and gingers all the time. Everyone who works here knows exactly who he is. And every time he comes here, he has the biggest smile on his face,” Arnold said.
Reid says graduation will be bittersweet, but it's been well worth the wait.
“I feel like I was born in Charlottesville, and I feel like I've come home. And I do not want to leave,” he said.
Reid will graduate with a major in humanities and minor in creative writing. He's planning to spend the next year writing a memoir all about his journey at UVA.
Thursday, July 24 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:06:07 GMT
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